1.5k Swim - 40k Bike - 10k Run
Alarm went off at 5:45am and I packed up the truck and headed out to Enumclaw to attempt my first Olympic distance triathlon. It was a beautiful morning.. the kind of weather you expect for the longest day of the year… (certainly not the kind of weather we have been seeing in Seattle this year!) I went with the pop tarts – no coffee breakfast since that seemed to work well for the Issaquah race. It really was a wonderful drive through the woods out to the race… sunroof open, windows down, and a smile on your face kind of drive. I was careful about how much I was hydrating... didn’t want to over hydrate and have to pee every 10 minutes during the race… but this turned out to be a mistake since I started the race dehydrated… opps. I hadn’t pre-registered so I walked up, registered, and headed in to transition to set up. I was actually one of the first people they let in to transition and the volunteers were still “learning”… they reversed the markings on my leg, so as I was setting up my bike someone runs over, scribbles out the numbers on each leg and re-writes the correct numbers…. Looked really funny ‘cause I have big black scribbles on my legs… looks like I let my niece Taylor draw all over my calf muscles (and as you read you will see those calf muscles took center stage in this race!) This was the first race with our snazzy new Team JFT uniforms… and boy do we look fast!! It was easy to find and meet up with the team before the race. Michael showed up as our team JFT Paparazzi (HUGE THANKS!) and I everywhere I looked I saw him snapping photos (maybe now I know what Britney Spears feels like?) I warmed up by running and then threw on the wetsuit and jumped in the lake to get the blood flowing to the arms. Surprisingly the lake was nice and toasty compared to what I have been training in… so no worries about cold feet or hands. YEAH!
I few things before I dig in… first, my nutrition was a bit messed up for this race… first I didn’t hydrate nearly enough and was dehydrated from the start. Second, I usually mix carbo-pro into my Accelerade, but the night before the race I realized I had managed to empty my enormous Accelerade canister and it was too late to pick some up… so I went with carbo-pro only. This shouldn’t be a big deal, but I would have preferred to have everything the same as I have it for training. Also, this wasn’t an “A” race for me and my goal was to learn as much as I can about “longer than Sprint” tri’s and to train for Lake Stevens in 2 weeks, therefore I didn’t have a race plan… it was pretty much just “go out there and give it your best shot without getting hurt” Okay… onto the details…
The Oly was a mass start.. all men and women together on the beach I think there were about 130-140 of us standing there ready for the start. I started near the outside and I was committed to a slow consistent swim. At 9:15am we were off and it was a bit of a mad house as we approached the first buoy. I realized right from the start that I had a problem with my goggles… I have learned to wait till the last possible moment to put my goggles on or else they tend to fog up.. somehow I ended up cutting it a little too close and with 30 seconds to go I put my goggles on but discovered my swim cap was all bunched up. I fussed around trying to get things right and when they said “go” I jumped in and started swimming. Within a few seconds my goggles started filling up with water.. it was a slow leak but clearly that wasn’t going to work for the whole race. I was in pack of people but I still managed to pull up and quickly clear my goggles. Still leaking… grrrr. I pulled out of the draft and quickly fixed my cap and sealed up the goggles.. problem solved… sort of. With the moisture inside the goggles and the heat from my face they started fogging up and within 5 mins I couldn’t see a darn thing.. they were completely fogged over. I had to clear them a few times during the beginning of the race but eventually the problem seemed to go away. For the most part my swim I had someone directly in front of me, behind me, and on both sides. A few times I swam wide just to get some breathing room but I think this really hurt me (I think I ended up swimming much further than 1500!) As we approached the beach I was feeling fine, still swimming strong and not really having any problems. I tend to swim without using my legs much which I have heard can be a plus and a minus. Some say learn to use your legs and others say if you have good balance and your legs aren’t slowing you down (drag) then it’s okay not to kick… it will keep them fresh for the bike/run. I started kicking as we approached the beach to get some blood back in my legs and when I did I felt the beginning of a cramp in my left calf. I just took it easy and tried to use my legs a bit more to get the blood flowing. I arrived at the beach (yeah!) jumped to my feet and started running, pulled down my wetsuit and headed into T1… everything felt good.
SWIM: 31:47 Slower pace than I expected but it was great training for Lake Stevens.
As I ran into T1 I felt my left calf start to cramp up.. yikes. I arrived at my bike and as I pulled my wetsuit off my left calf completely seized up… this was a super sized cramp that basically crippled me. I just stood there on one leg hanging onto the bike rack in serious pain. I tried to reach down and work out the cramp but I was in too much pain to do anything. I started having serious doubts about my ability to ever get out of T1.. heck.. I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to get my wet suit off. I just stood there for what felt like 5 minutes while the last few competitors headed out on their bikes. Eventually I was able to work out the cramp and remove my wetsuit. I threw on my helmet, slipped into my shoes, and started the painful trek out of T1. Michael was there to cheer me on and had observed the whole cramp episode (even took a great shot of me just standing there in pain!) In reality I only spent 4 minutes in T1 so it wasn’t that bad considering everything that happened.
T1: 3:59 (most of that was just standing there not moving… that’s a great way to use up valuable time in T1!)
I managed to mount up and headed out not really sure if my leg was going to hold together. I had thrown some long fingered gloves on the ends of my aerobars and figured I would wear them during the bike. I prefer no gloves but I was expecting the water and the air to be much colder than it was and I wanted to be able to feel my hands in T2. Turned out I didn’t need the gloves but I had them so why not. I was pedaling slowing and still trying to pull myself back together from the cramp which somehow managed to effect my entire body… I felt very fatigued and sore… due to this I didn’t have great balance on the bike and when I attempted to slip on my gloves I managed to drop one.. opps. If this were an “A” race I won’t have worried about it, but considering I had just spend a few minutes in T1 I figured it really wasn’t going to change the outcome if I took a few seconds to stop and retrieve my glove… so I did. It was just one more thing to add to the mounting challenges and frustration in this race (and I was only 1 minute into the bike!) I am not someone who let’s that stuff bother me so I made a decision to put all the little things out of my mind and pushed forward… I was here to race. I slowly started bringing the speed up on the bike but I could tell my left leg was doing 20% of the effort and my right leg was doing 80%. My left calf seemed to be working “normally”, meaning I didn’t feel like I was on the edge of getting another cramp… which was a good thing… but unfortunately it still felt as if someone had just hit my calf with a baseball bat… lots-o-pain. My HR was way too low but I just didn’t have the leg strength to push it up. The longer I was on my bike the more things started to improve and I was able to speed up. The last 8 or 9 miles I managed to pass quite a few people and I felt like I was back in the race. As I approached T2 I tried stretching my calf a bit as I was concerned about how it was going to feel as I transitioned to running. I made the final turn into the park and headed to the dismount.
BIKE: 31:47 20.01 MPH (Not as fast as I had hoped, but all things considered I am happy that I was able to pull things together and have a good ride)
Enough things had gone “not exactly as I hoped” up to this point so I decided to take it easy on the dismount. I pretty much stopped on the dismount line and slowly crawled off the bike and slowly started walking to see how the leg was going to hold up. Still lots of pain, but walking didn’t seem to make it any worse… again.. just felt like someone had taken a bat to the back of my leg. I racked the big, changed shoes, and headed out of T2 for a nice 10K run.
I headed out of the park and surprisingly I felt pretty good. I could feel my legs (could really feel the left one!) and I didn’t really feel the typical numbness during the first mile. I wasn’t going blazing fast but I was running my typical slow-ish but consistent pace and I felt like the throbbing calf muscle wasn’t going to be a factor (YEAH!) I really started to feel the dehydration and my attempts to hydrate on the bike weren’t enough to get me ahead. I grabbed some water and Heed from all 3 aid stations in an attempt to keep things moving to the finish line. Out on the run I was able to pick out JFT’ers in our super fast uniforms… Heli flew by me around mile 4 as she headed towards her AG#2 finish!! SWEETNESS! As I entered the park for the final 1.4 mile loop I really started to feel good and the legs were working well. As I approached the finish line I picked things up and passed a few people in the last 100 yards. It felt great to run across the finish line and then promptly down a bottle of water:).
RUN: 55:46 8:58/mile (not the fasted 10K… but it was a nice consistent run so I am happy with the result)
AG#17 (out of 22)
OA#90 (out of 136)
I learned a ton from this race and it really boosted my confidence for Lake Stevens. Showing up and racing my first Oly was very educational and I learned that I will ALWAYS hydrate before a race… I’d rather pee every 10 min vs. cramping up and racing with the constant need for water. In T1 I thought my race might be over but I am super happy that I was able to pull things together and push through it. I am always amazed what our bodies are capable of and how they can recover and keep going. On to Lake Stevens 70.3…. just 2 weeks to go!